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Dear Addy,

My health insurance premiums were $500/month, so I switched insurance plans during my company’s open enrollment period last year. Now I only pay $140/month. I have been very excited to have some extra cash each month but this has come at a big price. I need surgery on my injured leg, but can’t afford it. My new plan has a low monthly premium, but a $2,000 deductible. I can’t walk or afford the surgery because of the out-of-pocket cost. What can I do?

Hoping to Heal 

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Dear Hoping,

There are programs that may offer assistance in covering the cost of medical bills, like the one offered by Patient Assistance Services (PSI). Check them out. As to the deductible dilemma, there is no crystal ball to tell you that you will injury your leg, won’t be able to walk, and won’t be able to afford surgery to get you back on your feet. When it comes to health insurance, plan for the worse. Before enrolling in a new plan, weigh the deductible against the monthly premium and see what you can afford. It is important to read the policy information carefully prior to enrolling and each year you are enrolled because the plan benefits may change. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health insurance providers are required to offer easy-to-read fact sheets about their plan offerings. The Personal Health Insurance Toolkit, published by the National Hemophilia Foundation, can help you compare plans and determine which is best for you.

~Addy

Word: Deductible 

The amount you owe for health care services your health insurance or plan covers before your health insurance or plan begins to pay. For example, if your deductible is $1,000, your plan won’t pay anything until you’ve met your $1,000 deductible for covered health care services subject to the deductible. The deductible may not apply to all services. (Source: www.healthcare.gov/glossary/deductible/)

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HFA frequently receives questions from the bleeding disorders community related to advocacy issues. The questions often impact the entire community. In an effort to reach the largest audience possible with our responses to these widely applicable questions, HFA developed “Dear Addy.” Questions submitted to this column are edited in order to protect privacy and should be considered educational only, not individual guidance.

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